For many of us, 2012 could not have come to a close any sooner. The year had its ups and downs, but events of the last few months proved particularly tragic not only for education institutions, but also for the nation as a whole.
Superstorm Sandy, dubbed "Frankenstorm" because of its massive size and timing close to Halloween, ravaged the East Coast — leaving millions of people without power for weeks, closing schools and universities for an extended period of time, and causing an estimated $50 billion in property damage and lost business. Many schools in New York and New Jersey still are recovering from the storm's impact.
Then, on Dec. 14, an event so tragic transpired that it will haunt our psyche for generations to come. Twenty children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were shot to death — and once again the spotlight was thrust on school safety and security in America.
Education institutions everywhere re-evaluated and re-examined their security and emergency-preparedness plans. Administrators went into crisis mode to assure and comfort students and parents, and ensure all that plans and procedures are in place that keep their schools safe and secure. And, once again, federal gun policy became a focus of debate. (American School & University will be focusing on the Newtown, Conn., impact on schools across the nation in a special School Security section in next month's issue.)
If the aftermath of these tragic events was not enough, the end of the year culminated with lawmakers continuing their inability to effectively govern by holding the country hostage — threatening to push the nation off of a self-imposed "fiscal cliff."
A last-minute deal made early in the new year spared the country the prospect of enduring the largest across-the-board cuts in history, including significant reductions in education funding. But, unfortunately, we'll have to relive the drama in March when the issue will be revisited once again.
Here's looking to better days.
What do you think? Tell us in the comment box below.